Distinction Between Law and Ethics in Natural Law Theory

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This work discusses the distinction between the ‘legal moral’ and ‘non-legal moral.’ It examines the work of several leading legal idealists: Fuller, Llewellyn, Finnis, Kelsen, Kant, Beyleveld, and Brownsword. It argues that the legal point of views is the point of view of enforcement. The non-legal moral point of view is that of rightness of a behavior abstracted from the issue of enforcement.


“This book is an important contribution to contemporary Natural Law theory. . . . He puts his argument in a thorough, succinct and compelling fashion. . . . . Not all who share his premises will agree with his conclusions, but they will be hard put to it to find a flaw in his rigorous reasoning. Those who do not share his premises will gain a good deal of new understanding of philosophies which they may have thought they were familiar with, and will be challenged to rethink their views on theories to which they have given too little attention.” – Gordon R. Woodman

“For anyone who takes an interest in the articulation of a modern Natural law Theory, dr. Harris’s book offers a valuable and provocative analysis of a neglected by important question.” – Roger Brownsword

Table of Contents

Preface by Deryck Beyleveld
1. The PGC and Legal Idealism
2. Fuller’s ‘Internal Morality of Morality’
3. Llewellyn: The Moral Jobs
4. Finnis: Delegation and the Legal Characteristics
5. Kelsen’s Relativistic Legal Idealism and the Distinction between the Legal Moral and the Non-Legal Moral
6. Kant: The Duty of Perfection and the Perfect Duty
7. Beyleveld and Brownsword’s Aspectual Theory of the Distinction between the Legal Moral and the Non-Legal Moral
8. Conclusion: An Enforcement Positivity Thesis
Bibliography; Index

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